FIRST ON KHQ: Former Spokane Police Officer Tim Moses Sentenced For Making Misleading Statements Following The Controversial Death Of Otto Zehm
SPOKANE, Wash. - In an emotional arraignment and sentencing hearing now former Spokane Police Officer Tim Moses pleaded guilty and was sentenced for making false or misleading statements to a public servant in the death investigation of Otto Zehm in 2006.
The judge sentenced Moses to 12 months probation, she imposed a $2500 fine and ordered that Moses cannot seek another law enforcement job for the rest of his life and he must resign from the Spokane Police Department immediately.
The case is most well known for former Spokane Police Officer Karl Thompson's involvement, but today Moses became the second man sentenced following Zehm's death.
KHQ Local News was the only television station in court for this big story where Moses, his attorney Chris Bugbee, Moses' brother Keith and his father Cecil all spoke as to why Moses should not get a harsh sentence. Tim Moses served in the Spokane Police for 15 years prior to his resignation, but today he extended his sympathies to the family of Otto Zehm. Moses explained his reason for the guilty plea this afternoon.
"I've been a loyal, faithful and trusted warrior for the city of Spokane for 15 years," Moses said. "I do not believe a long court battle is good for this city or for the Spokane Police." Moses' attorney Chris Bugbee also extended his sympathy to the Zehm family.
"Closure is hard to come by. It is more a word than an actual state of mind," Bugbee said. But if this brings the Zehm family closer to that idea of closure, Bugbee said that is their goal.
Tim Moses wasn't involved at all in the detention of Otto Zehm. He leaned against a magazine rack while the incident took place. At some point during the altercation Moses had a conversation with Karl Thompson and that conversation was captured on video. In the investigation in the years that followed, Moses made some misleading statements about what he knew and that is why he was sentenced today.
"This is not the way he wanted to go out," Bugbee said. "This is not the way his family wanted him to go out. This man still has to work to support his family."
Moses still plans to work, according to his attorney, but it will now be more difficult.
"He made a terrible mistake in this case. He gave into the pressure of the grand jury," Bugbee said. "His professional reputation has been ruined and now his career (in law enforcement) has ended."
SPOKANE, Wash. - Former Spokane Police Officer Tim Moses was sentenced for making false statements in the Otto Zehm death investigation.
In a plea deal with the prosecution, Moses entered a plea of guilty this afternoon in court.
Both the prosecution and defense acknowledge to the judge that they had a longstanding discussion prior to Tuesday's arraignment to get to the point where both parties were comfortable with a plea agreement.
Moses was charged with Making False or Misleading Statements to a Public Servant, a gross misdemeanor. Tuesday, in a plea deal, Moses waived his right to a trial and pleaded guilty to the charge. As part of the agreement, the prosecution agreed not to seek federal charges, and Moses agreed to plead guilty, resign from the Spokane Police Department and not seek or obtain any job in law enforcement for the rest of his life.
Members of the Zehm family were present during Tuesday's proceedings, and Moses extended sympathy to the family, saying "Closure is hard to come by. It is more a word than an actual state of mind."
Moses went on to state, ""I've been a loyal faithful and trustful warrior for the city of Spokane for 15 years... I do not believe a long court battle is good for this city or for the Spokane Police Department... I hope that this case brings some closure for the Zehm family."
For sentencing, the defense attorney noted Moses' 15 years of service to the city of Spokane.
"He has already resigned, he has already turned in his letter of resignation to Chief Straub," Moses' attorney said. He continued, "This is not the way he wanted to go out. This is not the way his family wanted him to go out... This man still has to work to support his family," Bugbee said.
The defense also argued that incarceration was not necessary. "He made a terrible mistake in this case. He gave into the pressure of the grand jury," Moses' attorney said. "His professional reputation has been ruined, his career has ended."
The prosecution did not speak on sentencing recommendations. After hearing the defense, the judge sentenced Moses to $2500 fine, no jail time, probation for 12 months, no law enforcement work for the rest of his life and he resigned his position immediately. Look for more tonight on KHQ Local News at 5.
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